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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Former MP Baroness Clark of Kilwinning Unaware Pension Credit is Reserved to UK Government

A Labour list MSP has demanded the SNP Government takes responsibility for Pension Credit – a matter reserved to the UK Tory Government.

Baroness Clark of Kilwinning became a List MSP after coming third in Cunninghame North at this year’s Scottish Parliament election and placed her House of Lords seat ‘in abeyance’ while at Holyrood. Recently, she lodged a factually incorrect motion which claimed “the Scottish Government is statutorily obligated to do everything in its power to encourage take-up of Pension Credit for eligible applicants.”

The independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) confirmed that no such statutory obligation exists. There are also no plans to devolve state pensions and Pension Credit to the Scottish Parliament.

Kenneth Gibson MSP, who led a Members’ Debate on Pension Credit on 09 May 2019, lodged a corrective amendment to the motion, which can be viewed below.

Kenneth said:

“We all want the best for our older people and those eligible should be encouraged to take up their pension credits.

“However, the way to go about is not by falsely claiming the SNP Government has a ‘statutory obligation’ for something the Tories should be dealing with.

“It’s strange that any MSP is unaware of the difference between reserved and devolved matters, but it’s downright outlandish that Baroness Clark doesn’t know Pension Credit is reserved to the very Parliament she sat in from 2005 - 2015. Maybe her ‘elevation’ to the unelected House of Lords last year confused her?

“SNP MPs and MSPs have long argued for an awareness campaign on Pension Credit to be undertaken by the UK Tory Government and barriers to claiming removed. Baroness Clark appears keener to attack the SNP Government over a matter outside its control, than add her voice to the repeated calls made by SNP MPs for the UK Tory Government to do the right thing by some of our most vulnerable pensioners.”

Kenneth's amendment:

Title: Pension Credit

Motion Text: As an amendment to motion S6M-01586 in the name of Katy Clark (Pension Credit), leave out from "the Scottish Government is statutorily obligated" to end and insert "Pension Credit is a matter reserved to the UK Government and there are no plans to devolve any matters relating to pensions to the Scottish Parliament; further understands that the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has confirmed that the Scottish Government has no statutory duty to promote reserved benefits; believes that social security is an essential human right; acknowledges that Age Scotland estimates around £332 million-worth of financial support is going unclaimed by 123,000 older households across the country; acknowledges the results of Age Scotland’s Big Survey of Older People 2021, which reported that 38% had struggled to pay increased bills and 26% felt financially squeezed; notes with concern modelling by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, which suggest that tens of thousands of Scotland's households will experience fuel poverty as a result of Ofgem’s record price cap rise, and urges the UK Government to take responsibility of the reserved matter and run a targeted, UK-wide campaign to increase Pension Credit uptake."



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